The Midsomer Norton, Radstock & District Journal, 25th May 2022

Last week was Dementia Action Week (16th-22nd May) and on Wednesday an event was held in Parliament, which was attended by people affected by dementia, experts from the Alzheimer’s Society charity and clinicians.
The charity’s Dementia Action Week campaign is called: “It’s not called getting old, it’s called getting ill” and aims to raise awareness of the indicators of dementia and encourage people worried to try and obtain a diagnosis.

I have recently learned that there are 3,670 people living with dementia in Bath and North East Somerset, with a total of circa 900,000 across the United Kingdom (UK), which is set to rise to 1.6m by 2040.  However, with diagnosis rates currently at a five-year low owing to the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic it is believed that there are tens of thousands of people now living with undiagnosed dementia. This means that they do not have access to the vital care and support that a diagnosis can bring.

New research from Alzheimer’s Society shows that some people do not seek out a diagnosis because they think memory loss is just part of getting old.  Moreover, some do not recognise the signs of dementia or are just in denial about their symptoms. Though the thought of diagnosis can be daunting, over nine in ten people who suffer from the condition say they have benefitted from getting a diagnosis because there is help available for them come to terms with it or plan for the future.

I welcome the Alzheimer’s Society in its drive to make the recovery of dementia diagnosis rates a priority especially as one in four have been dealing with dementia symptoms for over two years prior to getting a diagnosis.   It is vital that anyone concerned should contact either their GP or the Alzheimer’s Society for advice.

James White, Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at the Alzheimer’s Society, confirmed that new resources are in place to give people all the information they need when speaking with their GP, which includes online support and a new symptoms checklist.  This can be printed and taken to the doctor to help both patients and clinicians have an easier and earlier diagnosis experience.

A number of constituents have written to me about this recently so I am pleased to be able to share the information that I have received from the Society and learn about the work that it is undertaking to ensure that no-one faces this devastating disease alone.

Support and more guidance can be found on the Alzheimer’s Society website or please telephone: 0333 150 3456.  There is also an Alzheimer’s Society YouTube channel.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance: